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Three wishes for the 2013 NFL Draft

climate genie Three wishes for the 2013 NFL Draft

Ahhhh, spring is in the air. While my fellow Floridians would argue it feels more like summer (because it does), one very important thing has to happen for Dolfans before we can mentally concede that summer is truly approaching: the NFL Draft.

Every die hard NFL fan has Thursday April 25th, 2013 circled on their calendar, and will be hitting their TV/computer/tablet/smart phone/all of the above no later than 8 PM sharp. The NFL Draft brings out Armchair GMs in droves, gleefully postulating “Mock Drafts” by the dozens.

Our very own FinNation.com Message Board forum has an annual contest that is scored and open to all. The predictions are not only entertaining, but informative and occasionally clairvoyant. Unlike some devout fans, I don’t have the time to truly research the droves of draftees. So rather than hobble together an unworthy mock draft, I’ll content myself with being a mere Armchair QB, apply elbow grease to the genie bottle, and offer up three general wishes for the upcoming draft that is still one oh-so-long week away.

Am I the only one who hateshowthe Draft startsonThursdayand runs over multiple days? I miss the good ol’ days when the NFL Draft turned into an actual social event on Saturday. It didn’t matter that it took forever – we were hanging out and enjoying the drama.Sure the NFL and media enjoy the multiple days of media coverage and TV ratings, once again dominating the sports news scene like no other sport. My first wish (and least significant) would be to return to the old format: have at least the first and second rounds on the weekend so we can enjoy the draft with friends. Make it Sunday if you have to, with the third and later rounds following on Monday so the NFL can still “milk the ratings”. I’d love to hear your “draft party stories” in the comments. Sadly, without this I think most of our “draft stories” relate to our fantasy draft parties, which while fun aren’t the same.My second wish is more specific to the Dolphins: please, under no circumstances whatsoever, have Jeff Ireland trade up in the first round. There will be plenty of talent available at #12 and Miami doesn’t need to give up valuable later picks to get an offensive lineman. Dolphins brass drafted Jonathan Martin for a reason last year: to be the LT of the future when former LT Jake Long’s contract expired. Note, GM Jeff Ireland didn’t extend Long’s contract last year, didn’t franchise tag Long this offseason, nor did he meet Long’s contract demands: a reasonable 4 year $34 million dollar contract with only $16 million guaranteed and a meager $4.25 million cap hit in 2013.

Late yesterday Ian Rapoport reported on the NFL Network that the Dolphins are interested in trading for franchise tagged Chiefs LT Branden Albert, who are expected to take an LT with the #1 pick in the draft. Rapoport states the Chiefs are shopping for a high second round pick and speculates that Miami’s second pick in the second round may be the best that is offered for the 29 year old Albert. The Chiefs lose leverage in a trade for two big reasons: (1) everyone expects them to use the #1 pick on an LT, making Albert a very expensive and unhappy RT; (2) anyone who trades for him is going to want to sign him to a long term and surely a high dollar contract (less incentive to give up a high pick when you also have to pay the player a lot of money).

At the end of the day, even if Miami doesn’t trade for Albert or move up in the draft, I’m one Dolfan who is ok with Martin at LT. Garner/Jerry/Yeatman will duke it out to start opposite Martin. This frightens the hell out of some Dolfans, maybe rightfully so. But defenses won’t be able to apply the same type of pressure on QB Ryan Tannehill as it did last year on a team devoid of offensive weapons.

WR Mike Wallace, TE Dustin Keller, and WR Brandon Gibson provide significant weapons in the passing game. Tannehill showed early in the 2012 season he could handle the pressure and get rid of the ball, so defenses started sitting back and covering Miami’s receivers – who couldn’t beat coverages. In 2013 defenses will have to devote more resources to covering Miami’s better weapons who will be able to beat coverages. As a result, opponents will have fewer resources to pressure Tannehill (who I will remind you is plenty mobile).

And if defenses send everything including the kitchen sink, Tannehill showed last year he will make them pay. I’d be ok with adding Albert provided the contract (although it will cost more than what Long got because Albert doesn’t have the questions about his health and is currently guaranteed $9.828 mil for one year under the franchise tag) primarily because it does reduce questions about the OL and, more importantly, insures we use the #12 pick on a playmaker.

eifert Three wishes for the 2013 NFL Draft

TE Tyler Eifert would make the Dolphins offense unstoppable. Photo courtesy jerseyal.com

My third and biggest wish is that the Dolphins draft TE Tyler Eifert with the #12 pick. Short term this may appear superfluous given the offseason signing of former Jets TE Dustin Keller. However, Keller is only signed to a one year contract, isn’t the greatest blocker, and isn’t a tall red zone threat.

Eifert would be everything Keller is not: a long term solution to a vital position on this offense, a solid blocker (which would help with protecting Tannehill), and not only is he a tall 6’5″, but he sports a 35″ vertical and 33 1/8 inch arms – making him a HUGE target who has shown he can make tough catches (just Google Tyler Eifert and look at the pictures of the catches he has made). Eifert fills a need, both now and especially in 2014 and beyond. Eifert would become the every down and distance security blanket for Tannehill that would make the Miami Dolphins offense *unstoppable*.

Some fans will compare his collegiate stats to other TEs in the draft. Don’t get hung up on collegiate stats – they don’t come close to telling the story. First, there’s no other TE with Eifert’s size (6’6″, 250 lbs with 35″ vertical and 33 1/8 inch arms), speed (4.68 in the 40 at the NFL combine), ability to block, and productivity with the demonstrated ability to make difficult catches.

That last part is important – go watch tape on Eifert and watch how (and who) he blocks, watch how he runs routes, and most specifically, watch how he makes very tough catches away from his body. I saw every kind of tough catch: falling out of bounds, jumping in traffic, getting mugged by defenders, etc. I don’t know if he’ll be a Hall of Fame TE, but based on my admittedly limited Armchair QB knowledge I have every reason to believe Eifert will be an every down force to be reckoned with who will significantly contribute to helping Tannehill succeed and the Dolphins win games.

So please, pretty please Mr. Genie in the bottle, make this Dolfan’s wishes true.

 

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3 Responses to Three wishes for the 2013 NFL Draft

  • Michael, yes please. Make the draft the one day event it was for so many years. As far as your other points I don’t have a strong opinion either way.

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  • Maybe. Or maybe there’s something about Winston they don’t like. But you’re right that Winston would be a cheaper addition than Albert (if they go that way).

    However, it won’t surprise me at all when the dust settles in a week if Miami doesn’t trade for Albert, sign Winston, or draft an LT in the first round.

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  • James Lancaster

    I think if the Fins felt that Martin could play LT they would of signed Winston.

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)

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